15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA | Stone Brewing

BA SCORE
93
outstanding
1,443 Ratings
15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States
stonebrewing.com

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.80%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by HopHead84 on 08-16-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Ratings:
1,443
Reviews:
718
Avg:
4.18
pDev:
12.92%
 
 
Wants:
56
Gots:
141
For Trade:
2
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,443 |  Reviews: 718
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of metter98
4.13/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a half finger high dark tan head that died down rather quickly, leaving lacing on the surface and a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light to moderately strong aromas of citrusy hops in the nose along with some notes of dark roasted malts.
T: A moderate to high amount of bitterness stands out in the overall taste, which also has notes of citrus and dark roasted malts.
M: It feels medium- to full bodied and crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. There are also some sticky hints of resin.
O: The bitterness in this beer is very bold and stands out in front of the other flavors. It’s not too difficult to drink considering its strength because the alcohol is well hidden from the taste.

 787 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4.32/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Densely malted, absurdly hopped, and alcoholicly intimidating. Stone's got me just where they want me: in the fetal position and begging for more!

Deep and dark black, just a shade away from black, this beast pours with a viscous plop into the oversized wine glass and even exudes creaminess and density even to the eye. Medium tan foam rises with a thick coat but settles into an espresso-like creme across the surface. Initially lacing very well, the weight of the beer and its high alcohol seem to prohibit lacing after the carbonation subsides a bit.

Aromatic malt leads the way with a dense scent of whoppers candies, malty milk shakes, vanilla and cream. These all play an underpinning role to the chocolate, coffee, and roasty aromas. Hard to believe but all that is dwarfed by the immensity of citrus, pine, and resiny hop aromas.

All those malty rich aromas manifest in flavor as well. Dense milk shake-like maltiness offer a strong glimpse of espresso coffees, bittersweet chocolate and cocoa, and charred woods. Again, after the early malt influence, a building hop flavor begins citrusy with grapefruit and orange pith, but then grow into sharp grasses and pine, before resting on a dry charr bitterness that accompany the bitterness of roasted grains very well. Somewhat metallic and salty, the beer has a very flavorful spread of dark malts and hops with savory threads.

Very rich, creamy, and volumnous for an IPA of any color, pushing what many consider Imperial Stout territoroy. Because of the hop bitterness and sharpness, the malts are downplayed into a less desne mouthfeel than it probably is. Very dry, very warm, and slightly astringent and harsh, this Black IPA struggles to make the hop dryness and crispness shine over all that malty texture.

Delicous and resiny throughout, this is a very schizophrenic beer. Is it a Stout, is it an IPA? Like the Sublimely Self Righteous Ale or 11th Anniversary Ale but with heightened hop and malt character, this is one intriguing animal!

 2,007 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.16/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

1 pt 6 fl oz. brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a generic hefeweissbier glass in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live.

A: Pours a three finger head of beautiful tan colour, wonderful cream and thickness, and excellent retention considering the high ABV. Colour is a solid black. Extremely appealing.

Sm: Bittering hops aplenty alongside cream and caramel. Interesting, but nothing special. Aroma is moderate in strength.

T: Some light floral notes and heavy bittering hops slam into dark caramel, light coffee, and cream like oncoming traffic. The balance is rather off, with most of the flavour contained in the latter half. The bitterness is too pronounced, to the point of being unwelcome, and even ruining the finish. Alcohol comes through, and there's a weak sauce chocolate note right on the end. It's complex but imbalanced, and overall is badly built for the style. That said, it does have some nice patches.

Mf: Smooth and wet, but too thick. The cream is lopsided and strange. It's also sharp on the finish. Doesn't suit the flavours of the body at all.

Dr: This is a strangely built beer for the style that isn't successful at meshing dark notes with an overload of IPA inspired bittering hops. The price is high, even in California. The ABV is pronounced. It's only worth trying for huge fans of Stone and/or the style.

 1,380 characters

Photo of oline73
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours black with two fingers of thick tan head. Decent retention and good lacing.

Smell: Fresh grassy hops are the dominant smell with some roast and dark chocolate in the background. Some citrus in there as well.

Taste: Bitter hops are present throughout the whole sip. Roast creeps up on you, but doesn't clash too much with the hops. A bit sweet, but not too much considering the abv. Bitter finish but not a ton of alcohol. A bit peppery in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Body is on the thicker side with very smooth carbonation. The finish is mildly dry.

Overall: One of my favorite American Black Ales. Way too easy to drink given the abv. I would have it again.

 726 characters

Photo of emerge077
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Black body with sheets of lace coating the tulip glass. Excellent head retention, lasts for the entire glass, and with each pour there's a nice reverse cascade effect.

Citric hop notes meld seamlessly with a smooth dark roast malt and chocolate layer.

Similar flavors, bitter piney hops with a slightly sweet citrus edge, up against smooth, rich roasted malt character. Lots of bittersweet chocolate, and hop bitterness. Medium bodied with little hint of the double digit abv. My second bomber in as many days...

 516 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep pitch-black color ale with a large dark brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of deep roasted malt notes with lightly sweet undertones and some dominant bitter and loads of piney hops. Taste is a very nice mix between some smooth roasted malt with light lactose notes and some dry notes with some huge piney notes on top. Boyd is full with nice creamy texture and good carbonation with no apparent alcohol. Very well brewed and probably my favourite example of the style.

 515 characters

Photo of zeff80
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a thick, dark, dark brown color with a two-finger, light brown head of long-lasting foam. It left sticky rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of citrus, grapefruit and strong pine notes. There was a burnt toast maltiness.

T - Good chocolate flavors with some burnt molasses. Very spicy with pine, citrus and grapefruit bite.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a sneaky alcohol presence.

O - Wow! This is another anniversary ale from Stone that needs to become a permanent brew. Best black ale, yet.

 549 characters

Photo of zestar
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of olradetbalder
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of Thorpe429
3.68/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up at Rick's in Alexandria. Served in a Stone IRS tulip.

Pours black with a large, creamy tan head that lasts for a long time before falling into a thin cap with excellent lacing.

The nose brings forward plenty of chocolate and roast, backed up with some earthy hops and pine resin. A bit of booze in the nose, which becomes more prevalent in the flavor. Hops are fairly light compared to the malt, though neither is particularly heavy. Moderate-to-strong bitterness with average carbonation. Medium body. Decent enough, but not what I expected given the rave reviews.

 583 characters

Photo of nickfl
4.57/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Pours with one finger of medium-brown foam on top of an opaque, black body. The head fades slowly and leaves a thin layer of lace on the glass.

S - Lots of pungent hops up front, fruity and floral with a distinct pine note that blends nicely with the caramel and dark bread malt character.

T - Bitterness hits first, both from hops and malt, with some dark caramel and a hint of chocolate. Pine and grapefruit come out in the middle along with more dark sugar. It finishes with a dark, baker's chocolate note and more pine hops as well as a strong, but smooth bitterness.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - Damn, and I though Sublimely Self Righteous was a nice black IPA! The malt is much darker than in most other examples I have had with a distinct dark chocolate note that dominates the finish. I am particularly impressed by the way that the hop character manages to stay bright and pungent rather than blending in with the dark malt. This is a masterpiece and it proves, to me at least, that this is something worthy of being considered a distinct style of its own.

 1,111 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.76/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black and opaque, even in bright sun light.

Lots of dark malt and some hops, but too much alcohol in the nose

Rich flavor featuring dark malt over the hops, despite the IPA designation. Huge malt flavor yet plenty of hops show thru. Extremely long finish and aftertaste.

M: full body; good if rather aggressive carbonation.

O - very bold; a bit challenging and extreme; highly flavored. If you are seeking a rich and flavorful beer with plenty of hops and dark malt, don't miss this offering.

 498 characters

Photo of oberon
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well for number #3000 I had to go with this,its worthy of such a lofty number.Poured into my Stone imperial nonic a jet black with a blooming mocha colored head that becomes a substantial frothy mass after leaving a few broken globs of lace as it kinda, sorta settled.Big resiny and herbal hops overtop of a dryer bitter chocolate base,a tinge of sweet boozy alcohol comes into play as it warms.Herbal hops really stand out on the palate along with unsweetened chocolate and light roast,there is a "meaty" element to the beer that I cant quite pinpoint.Full and creamy feel it glides down nicely.For my money this is the best Stone Anniversary beer that I have had,its as complex as all get out,hell of a job here.

 714 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Stone 15th Anniversary

So what can be said about this one? First off, it's Stone, so it's going to be balanced with a nice bit of malt to it, some alcohol, a rock solid bitterness, and a lot of hops in both the flavor and the aroma. It's an easy read. And it's not like it's the first hoppy dark beer they've done, so the only real question is what will the hops be like? Noting that it's an "Escondidian" Imperial Black IPA, that's kind of answered already as well... they've got to be Pacific Northwest hops, and a bit citrusy and piney (at least that's how I remember San Diego!). You can smell them in the nose, and they're brightly citrusy with a lot of pineapple and pine, as well as some grapefruit rind. In the flavor, however, there's more fruit... Amarillo? It's nice and juicy, and it's a nice balance really. And they're bright enough to ride over the coffee and chocolate roastiness. In fact, all of the components kind of stand out on their own, including the alcohol which is a bit of a problem. The alcohol, however, is its only fault as I see it, and a minimal one at that given the style. Well worth trying / might be worth seeking out.

 1,155 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.8/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On-tap 10/28/2011 at Track 84 in Warwick, RI, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color, with a large brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains roasted malts, chocolate, coffee and a good amount of hops.

T: The taste starts with flavors of dark fruit, citrus, coffee and chocolate. Then a strong floral hops bitterness comes in followed by a hearty roasted malt character creating a very good balance. The after-taste is bitter-sweet and hoppy.

M: Crisp and smooth, light-to-medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Very tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, strong kick, excellent representation of style, this is a very nice beer with good complexity making it worth drinking for an entire evening.

 800 characters

Photo of Kegatron
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a deep brown, with a couple fingers of dark mocha head. This retains with a tight finger, leaving back a big frothy cascade of foam that settles down into a sticky latticework of lacing that clings to the sides of the glass. The aroma smells of fresh grapefruit and pine accents, with both definitely having some vibrant power to them. Notes of roast and sweet chocolate come in off the sides, while that big ABV adds a bit of heady warmth to the nose. Those American hops really control this though.

The taste starts with strong grapefruit bitterness and pine that cut across the tongue, with that initial blast being buffered by a thick mix of chocolate sweetness and a touch of tangier feeling caramel. A wall of burnt roast pulls up the back of this before the hops regains their strength in the finish with bitter fruit, resins, and spicy alcohol sticking to the tongue with a stiff dryness, while even the roast gets in on the act as well with an intense charred feel that leaves an impression. The mouthfeel is full bodied in the mouth and has some sharpness on the tongue that pops those notes of hops and roast. The rest of the feel has more of a smooth creaminess to it that helps fill out the corners of the mouth. That near 11% ABV isn’t ridiculous feeling but like the nose, does give this a certain amount of beefiness and intensifies those already aggressive flavors.

While this certainly had some big ole’ balls on it, it ultimately came as more of a hefty and hoppy American Stout to me, as those roasted malts and chocolate sweetness had about as big of a presence here as the hops did. Even with this not quite being quite up to snuff style-wise for me and much like all of these Stone Anniversary beers, it’s always at least worth trying.

 1,809 characters

Photo of mactrail
2.44/5  rDev -41.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

This is so sharply alcoholic. With the bitterness, it tastes like a Chinese medicinal wine. It also wins the prize for the weirdest, most unpleasant aroma for a non-spoiled beer. It's like a wet felt hat filled with the parsley silage from the back of the vegetable bin.

The stuff looks nice enough in the glass, though it's just black with a thin beige head. Not very drinkable overall. It just seems like some kind of hop joke. Mouthfeel is hard to tell. It makes my lips hurt.

Personally, I think they are toying with us. Or else it's a chemistry experiment from the Escondido High School science fair. At least Stone doesn't don't overcharge, so I sometimes lapse from better judgement to try one of their loopy brews. From the 22 oz bottle. Add a case of Olde English 800 for an excellent frat party. "Dude, see if you can keep this down!"

 846 characters

Photo of Rifugium
3.63/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at TJ's, Paoli, PA

Poured into a snifter, an oily brownish black with a small cap of tan head that retained decently and left some streaky lacing behind. Big aroma full of pine, with a sweet maltiness just peeking through in the background. A blast of pine and resin on the tongue, on the border of being a palate killer. Notes of coffee bitterness and bottom-of-the-barrel molasses. Heavy, greasy mouthfeel and definitely boozy.

I like Cascadian dark ales, I like Stone's brews a lot, and I know they're all about being extreme. But I think this one was too much even for me. It wasn't bad by any means, just a little over the top and one-sided with the pine taking almost complete dominance. I'd really have to be in the mood to try this one again.

 771 characters

Photo of mendvicdog
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of billab914
3.89/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Stone IRS glass. Black in color with a thin, dark tan head to it. The head retreated to the edges of the glass rather quickly and left just a bit of lacing as I drank it.

The aroma mixes a juicy, tropical fruit like hoppiness with a little bit of a roasted, chocolaty character. Some very nice grapefruit and mango notes come out in the hops. The roasted malts are noticeable but not overdone, which I like.

The taste shows some of that juicy, fruity hoppiness to it up front. Midway I start to get more of a dry, bitterness that lasts into the finish. The grapefruit and roasty flavors combine for some big bitter flavors in the finish, that seemed a little harsh at times. It was pretty good but I would have liked to see a little more of the brighter, juicy hoppiness that the aroma had cut through the roasty flavors a little more.

The mouthfeel is a little on the heavy side with carbonation being moderate. Overall it was a pretty good beer for the style. I liked the way juicy, hoppiness mixed with some chocolaty flavors in the aroma. The roasty, bitter, burnt flavors overshadowed the hops a little for me in the taste though. It was a pretty good beer overall though.

 1,217 characters

Photo of russpowell
4.36/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Was thrilled to find this "across the border" on Missouri!

Pours black with 2 fingers of mocha colored head. Tons of sticky lacing, great head retention`

S: Intense pineyness, grassy notes, smokey notes once warm

T: Follows the nose, some hints of of carob, dates & grapefruit up front, a touch of wet charred grain as well. Much pineyness, intense grapefruit, sharp herbal bitterness as well with a touch of smokey wet grain, along with , some booze bite & minty hops as well. Finishes with boozey grainyness, much pineyness

MF: Chewy, slick, very warming, a touch too much booze burn & not perfect balance

Much to love here, a real intense Black IPA. Thrilled to see a "new release" from Stone in my backyard. Keep'em coming please!

 740 characters

Photo of smcolw
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep, dark brown liquid where no light shines through. Good beige head that drops very slowly, leaving a blanket of fine lace.

Dark, nearly burnt caramel aroma--semi-sweet. There's a light touch of hop at the end of the smell.

Bitter malt followed by bitter hop, quite different from the smell. There is no sweetness to this beer. In fact, it seems like an over abundance of black patent malt was added to the brew. Think coffee grounds and you'll come close. This beer is more bitter than a stout, even though the hop is largely overwhelmed. The body is decent with a good level of carbonation.

 597 characters

Photo of vfgccp
4.11/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A – Toasted head has great retention and lace. Solid black body has almost no highlights.

S – Pine and green leaves. Caramel latte.

T – Round malt into a quick ramp-up of bitter roast alpha oil. Sharply acidic, black roast center with a raisiny sweetness. Lingering pine bitterness and cocoa on the backend.

M –Medium body. Low carbonation. Sweet finish.

O – A solid, complex BIPA

 394 characters

Photo of mdaschaf
4.17/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at the Pickled Pig Pub

A: Served in a goblet, the beer was dark in color, pretty much black, with a very nice tan head on top. The head was very tight foam, great retention, with sparse lacing left behind.

S: Wow, amazingly hoppy on the aroma. If I was given this beer blind (and didn't see its color), I certainly would have guessed it either a strong IPA or a DIPA. Lots of grapefruit, pine, and pine resin. Very faint amount of roast going on, the hops dominate the aroma.

T: Roastier than the aroma led on, but still very hoppy. Lots of pine and resin, and to a much lesser extent citrus. This is mixed with some milk chocolate.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation, but it is rather creamy for style. Finishes bitter.

O: Pretty good for style, one of the better ones I have had. The mouthfeel on this one makes it better compared to most, which usually seem a bit thin. Fantastic aroma as well.

 933 characters

15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA from Stone Brewing
4.18 out of 5 based on 1,443 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.